Here’s a fun bit of news that slipped through the cracks. This past Friday, former three-division champion Kosei Tanaka announced a December 11th clash with former title challenger Sho Ishida in Nagoya.
The 26-year-old Tanaka (15-1. 9 KO) claimed his first world title in just his fifth pro fight by beating Julian Yedras for the WBO minimumweight belt. After stopping Vic Saludar in his one and only defense, he moved up to take the light flyweight title from Moises Fuentes. He defended that belt twice, including a rout of Angel Acosta, before beating Sho Kimura for the flyweight belt in an all-time-great slugfest.
A three-defense reign ended with a move to 115, where he finally fell to the lethal Kazuto Ioka.
Ishida (29-2, 15 KO) enjoyed a solid run as Japanese champion before unsuccessfully challenging Kal Yafai for the WBA title in 2017. He’s since won five of six, the sole loss a split decision to multi-time world title challenger Israel Gonzalez. He’s a solid comeback foe for Tanaka, who remains an enormously talented and entertaining fighter despite falling short against one of the best in the business.
Should Tanaka come out victorious, I’m very keen on seeing his next run at super flyweight gold. Let’s see how he bounces back.